Tuesday, April 27, 2021

52 Ancestors - FAVORITE PLACE: Home

I have wonderful memories from childhood playing with all the kids on Frailey Place from sun up to sun down, of traveling across the state with my grandparents to visit my cousins, of riding along with my granddaddy as he conducted his taxi business or combing my granny’s hair as she called drivers on the radio to pick up a fare. Each place has a claim to be my “favorite.”

But really, my FAVORITE place is right here in my home. It’s cliché, I admit. Genealogy and family history are my thing, and in my home, I am surrounded by all that is near and dear.


While many other people enjoy a “Man Cave” or a “She Shed” or a “Diva Den,” my office is my “Gene Cave.” The “Family” wall is a gallery of my parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and one great-great. I added my husband’s family as well. My great-grandmother’s treadle Singer sewing machine serves as a table. 

One of two built-in shelves

Shelves are filled with notebooks, yearbooks, scrapbooks, and photos, all of which provide inspiration as well as research material.


Ball Jars that belonged to my great-grandmother
Mary Frances Jollett Davis

Every room in my house contains something that connects me to family. In the kitchen are Ball jars, Jewel Tea mixing bowls, and Pyrex casserole dishes that keep alive memories of delicious meals at my grandmother’s house.


The family room has two tables built by my husband’s father, one of which is made from trees from the family farm. There are little reminders too of my great-grandparents’ daily lives: a rusted cow bell and a wooden butter mold.

Butter mold

Table made by my husband's
father and grandfather.

Lamp and doilies from grandaunt Velma;
bed and table from grandaunt Violetta

Bedrooms hold old beds, old quilts, old lamps, and old dressers handed down from old family members. 

Middle shelf - candle holders 
and a candy dish
Bottom shelf - hat pin holder, my
jar of permanent rods, and my
grandfather's glasses

A knick-knack shelf  in a guest room displays my grandfather’s glasses, my grandmother’s candle holders, and even a jar of rods from the Toni home permanents my mother gave me as a child.

The china press in the dining room and corner cabinet in the living room are both family heirlooms working overtime like mini-museums of glassware, silver, and china passed on to me from the Davis, Slade, Rucker, Jollett, Killeen, and Parker families.

Whenever I watch HGTV and some buyer is disappointed that a house looks “too grandma,” I look around at my stuff and think, “Yep, this is a grandma house, all right.” However, to me it is the pinnacle of warmth and comfort, not like the soulless grey remodels with generic Wayfair decor where the only signs of life might be a single gallery wall of black and white headshots. 

Give me “grandma” any day.

Amy Johnson Crow continues to challenge genealogy bloggers and non-bloggers alike to think about our ancestors and share a story or photo about them. The challenge is “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. 


© 2021, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.


  1. What a wonderful collection you have and as such it is a tribute to you and your ancestors. Enjoy!

  2. Your Gene Cave is super duper! Love that you live every day in the company of your ancestors.

  3. Such beautiful things and beautiful house.

  4. I love that you are surrounded by things that are near and dear to you. I, too, use an antique sewing machine as a table.

  5. As much as I enjoy traveling, home is the best!

  6. Fantastic! I agree, home is the best and I love the idea of a Gene Cave. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Wonderful reminder of the treasures we can enjoy, if we just notice them. They can take us places in our imaginations.